LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On a day when the Indiana University football team set a program record with four players named to the Big Ten all-defensive team, the Hoosiers added a small but talented group of newcomers featuring 13 high school signees and a transfer from Florida State.
Although the average individual talent ratings were highest in program history, the IU class ranked 12th in the Big Ten and 61st nationally by 247Sports because it was 5-12 players smaller than most schools.
IU coach Tom Allen was not concerned, especially on a day when the Big Ten honored his defense, especially tackle Jerome Johnson, whose only FBS offer was from IU, and linebacker Micah McFadden, who picked Indiana over Boston College.
Allen said the pitch from the IU staff to recruits became, “that can be you.”
Allen said several players in the group picked IU without visiting Bloomington because of the novel coronavirus. Most have been committed for months. There were no late decommitments for the first time in years, a development Allen credited to a text message chain created by the players.
Allen said that Indiana’s 6-1 record and national Top-10 ranking helped hold the class, too. He also said he expected the program to pursue a larger class with higher recruiting rankings next season because of the momentum created by the 2020 team.
He said the staff will continue to focus on prospects who play multiple sports as well as in-state players. IU signed five Indiana school players, guys that Allen said ranked among the top-11 prospects in-state.
"It is tremendous to see so many of the top kids in the state of Indiana choose to help us continue our upward trajectory," Allen said. "To see the top kids in our state band together as a group and decide to come represent this great university is truly special."
Here is the 2021 IU football recruiting class:
- Jaquez Smith, WR, 6 feet, 1 inch, 195 pounds, Westlake High, Fairburn, Georgia — The highest ranked recruit nationally in the class, Smith had offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame and other programs. Allen said he runs excellent routes, excels at changing directions and has the power to break tackles. His father served in the Navy as an aviation mechanic.
- Jordyn Williams, WR, 6 feet 1 inch, 185 pounds, Trinity Christian High, Albany, Georgia — Played his senior year for Deion Sanders in Texas but kept his commitment to IU despite offers from Louisville, Maryland, Ole Miss and Tennessee. Caught 50 passes for nearly 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Will enroll next month.
- Donovan McCulley, QB, 6 foot 5 inch, 200 pounds, Lawrence (Ind.) North High — The consensus pick as the second-best in-state player, McCulley picked IU even though he had offers from Iowa, Kentucky, Purdue, Missouri, Michigan State and Ole Miss. Completed 70% of his passes while throwing for nearly 2,600 yards as a senior.
- “He’s got that natural quick release that you can’t coach,” Allen said. “We loved the way he threw the football … This is a guy you want leading your program.”
- D.J. Matthews, WR, 5 feet 10 inches, 160 pounds, Florida State — A four-star prospect in high school, Matthews opted out of his senior season with the Seminoles before committing to IU. Had 78 receptions as a slot receiver his final two seasons at FSU. Will enroll next month. Also a talented punt return man.
- “He’s a gifted athlete and another weapon to bring to our offense,” Allen said.
- Cooper Jones, DT, 6 feet 5 inches, 260 pounds, Valparaiso (Ind.) High — Son of a former Notre Dame football player and IU softball player, Jones was ranked the seventh-best prospect in Indiana by 247Sports. Had 80 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks as a senior.
- Joshua Sales, OL, 6 feet 6 inches, 305 pounds, Brownsburg (Ind.) High — The top-ranked in-state offensive line prospect on IU’s board, Sales allowed no sacks as a senior. Also competes in wrestling and track. Will enroll next month.
- Maurice Freeman, DB, 6 feet, 195 pounds, Oscar Smith High, Norfolk, Virginia — Allen expects Freeman to succeed in the hybrid linebacker/safety position that IU utilizes in the Hoosiers’ 4-2-5 alignment because of his tackling ability. Will play his senior high school season this spring.
- “You watch his kickoff cover film, and you get fired up,” Allen said. “He’s looking for guys to hit.”
- David Holloman, RB, 6 feet, 200 pounds, Avondale High, Auburn Hills, Michigan — Attracted the Hoosiers’ attention last spring when he ran a 4.29 40-yard dash at an exposure camp in Florida. Another multi-sport athlete as a four-year starter in basketball and talented sprinter.
- Trent Howland, RB, 6 feet 2 inches, 220 pounds, West High, Joliet, Illinois — Thicker back in the style of current IU star Stevie Scott, who had a 301-yard, five-TD game as a junior. His high school program did not compete this fall because of COVID-19.
- Aaron Steinfeldt, TE, 6 feet 5 inches, 235 pounds, Bloomington (Ind.) North High — The first North athlete to be named all-conference in football, basketball and baseball in 20 years, Steinfeldt is a full-sized, sure-handed tight end who grew up following the Hoosiers.
- Jordan Grier, DB, 6 feet, 193 pounds, Cedar Grove High, Ellenwood, Georgia — Baseball and track star who led his high school program to three state championship games. Also returns kicks.
- Larry Smith, DB, 5 feet 10 inches, 175 pounds, Oakleaf High, Jacksonville, Florida — A 4-star prospect at Rivals, Smith projects as the strongest man-to-man cornerback prospect in the group.
- Vinny Fiacable, OL, 6 feet 4 inches, 300, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Dwenger High — Father, Steve, also played at IU for Bill Mallory. High school basketball player with long arms whose athleticism impressed the staff. Will enroll next month.
- James Evans, punter, 6 feet 1 inch, 210 pounds, Auckland, New Zealand — Punter from the same kicking academy as current IU punter Hayden Whitehead. Has never visited the U.S. but will enroll next month.
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